Originally Posted by Marvin
That's what they aim the iPad at. Browsing on the Apple TV would be convenient for people who just have an Apple TV but the iPad offers a much better experience for email and browsing as well as other apps and you get the benefit of being able to take it anywhere so if you don't want to stay up, you can do the same browsing and email in bed. This shows from Chrome OS usage stats:
The problem is the iPad is very expensive relatively.
There is little profit if you go with Intel hardware with conventional expectations. However if you go the AppleTV route you drastically cut hardware costs with your profits coming from apps and media sales. Really it is just an extension of what they are doing now with AppleTV. Further it isn't much different than what happens with gaming consoles.
The PC desktop market is still fairly strong with over 100m units per year but AIOs are making up a growing portion of those.
Where does that come from? I don't see people knocking down doors to get to AIO's. In the case of Apple you only have one practical desktop which is the Mini, iMac sales are more the result of no viable alternatives.
The iMac looks like it'll be getting a big revision with a Retina display. If this is the case then it means a Retina Thunderbolt display. If they update the Mini now, there's zero chance buyers will get the retina display with it. It'll take some GPU power to drive a Retina display but if they bring the Mini line down to just a quad-i7/Iris Pro model, that should be ok.
I can't imagine the current Minis or even a Haswell based Mini actually driving a large retina (4K) display. Further I can't imagine Apple marketing any new monitor at less than 4K resolution.
The alternative is that they make a cheaper iMac to grab some of the Mini crowd with a display sale too.
The iMac sells at least 2x the amount of Minis at 2x the ASP so it's at least 4x more profitable for Apple than the Mini and the margins could also be higher on the iMac.
A company can't become obsessed with profits to the point that they ignore consummer needs! They desperately need a desktop machine that isn't an iMac that delivers respectable performance.
Once the iMac gets updated, it should be clearer what the future of the Mini will be. This could be as late as September-November.
Honestly I think something new is coming. If not Apples customers should rightfully be pissed off. Especially when the hardware exists to address the Minis biggest shortcoming which has been the GPU.